OJAI (CBSLA) — Thick grey smoke hangs in the air over the city because there in no wind to blow it away.
In a parking lot near a liquor store people were handing out lung-saving masks.READ MORE: No-Burn Order Extended Through Friday For Much Of Southland
“We’re born and raised here, we work here. This community gives so much, so why not give back,” Jovany Borjas, who was handing out masks, said.
As the Thomas Fire continues to burn, the smoke is going straight up and not being driven out by strong winds.
“I really appreciate it they are doing a great job,” Francisco Martinez said. “Right now everybody needs a little help.”
The city is surrounded on three sides by fire, but thanks to the lack of wind no structures have been claimed by fire.READ MORE: Parolee Aariel Maynor Arrested In Connection With Jacqueline Avant Killing After Shooting Himself In The Foot
“I think it proves Ojai is a durable little town,” Richard Keit said. “This has happened three times in the 40 years when we’ve been completely surrounded by fire and the downtown here is like a 100 years old. I guess we have a nice little oasis but we gotta put up with the smoke when this happens.”
The 143,000-acre Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County continues its march northwest, pushed by powerful Santa Ana winds into Santa Barbara County. It is still only 10 percent contained and has taken the life of a 70-year-old woman.
Virginia Pesola, of Santa Paula, was found dead at the site of a car crash on an evacuation route, said Dr. Christopher Young, the Ventura County chief medical examiner.
“This tragic death is the only confirmed fire-related death in Ventura County to date,” Young said.MORE NEWS: COVID Omicron Variant Detected In Vaccinated Minnesotan Who Traveled To NYC Anime Convention
There are big concerns for Santa Barbara County. Flames are pushing toward Carpinteria. The Oceanside community is under a mandatory evacuation and 15,000 structures are at risk.